Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Getting Started with Copperplate Calligraphy

I have always wanted to learn calligraphy and this winter I decided to give it a go.  I bought the book Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy as my guide and then bought some copperplate nibs, a nib pen, ink, and a pad of layout paper (this paper is super useful because ink doesn't bleed on it and it's transparent enough that you can lay a guide page underneath it to help you with your letter formation).  Shortly after I started I bought some fun colored ink made by Speedball at a craft store and was super disappointed, the quality was far inferior to the Winsor and Newton ink and my penmanship looked significantly worse with it.  Perhaps if you are more advanced at Copperplate it wouldn't be such an issue, but for me it made a huge difference.  I also use the free printable Copperplate guide from here...there are a bunch of others out there, but this was the one I liked best.

It is a fairly inexpensive hobby to try, all in all, I spent about $25, but it does require some devoted practice time.  For the first month I typically tried to write a page a day.  I would always start with some lines of warm up strokes at the beginning and then transition to practicing letters and eventually words.  I can't speak highly enough of the book Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy.  It really breaks everything down step by step, gives you letter variations, and practice words and sentences.  If for some reason something was hard to understand at first (like for me, the letter "o"), I would turn to YouTube.

I still have so far to go with my calligraphy, but even within the first month I saw significant improvement. The hardest part for me has been carving out the time to sit down and write.

(Please note all Amazon links are affiliate).


  1. I'd love to pick up this hobby but I'm sure I'd have trouble finding the practice time like you. My list of hobbies and projects is long and growing and there's always something new to try. Thanks for the suggested resources!

    1. I found that the first few weeks I needed to consistently sit down and write so that I would remember how the letters were formed etc., but after that if I took a few days or weeks off it wasn't a big deal and I kind of picked up where I left off. I've had a lot of fun with it, if you give it a try I'd love to hear how you like it! :)